Category Archives: News

Baler Creates ICT Council

As part of its goal to create jobs and opportunities and promote innovation in the Municipality of Baler, Province of Aurora, Mayor Rhett Ronan Angara signed Executive Order No. 66 Series of 2020 last September which creates the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council of Baler.

Mayor Angara challenged everyone that – together, we can all jump to the 21st century. I hope this starts to strengthen relationships, establish linkages with various sectors and stakeholders of all municipalities.

Mayor Rhett Ronan Angara delivers his welcome remarks

The key objective of creating out ICT council is to adopt the organizational model that brings together movers and key decision makers from the public or government sector (local or national line agencies), academe and human resource, and private or business and industry sector. The ICT council will serve platform to set directions to position Baler as a strategic location for ICT-enabled jobs and investments.

EO 66 states that the ICT Council shall be driven by the following objectives:

  • Talent Development
  • Creation of Local Programs Anchored on Innovation
  • Generate Jobs and Investments
  • Promotions and Marketing – Promote Baler as ICT Hub in Aurora
  • Promote eGovernance: Ease of Doing Business
  • Promote Tech-preneurship and Development of Start Ups
  • Improve Business Environment and Risk Management
  • Organization and Management of ICT Council

The Council shall exercise the following functions:

  • Act as policy-making body on matters pertaining to and affecting the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development and innovation programs in the municipality of Baler;
  • Approve action plan leading to the development of ICT in the municipality;
  • Devise strategies to address issues and concerns affecting the growth and development of the sector in the locality;
  • Establish linkage with the business sector and other stakeholders in the municipality for issue identification and resolution;
  • Establish linkages with provincial, regional, national and international organizations and institutions for the development of ICT sector in Baler.

Stakeholders and members of the Baler ICT Council gathered on November 5, 2020 for a launching and orientation ceremony organized by the Tatak Pinoy Digital Transformation Team under the Office of Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara with senior officials Atty. Fatima Panongtongan, Jess Abalos and Mikey Abola.

National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) President Michael Tiu Lim of Zamboanga ICT Council delivers his message

National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) led by president Michael Tiu Lim of Zamboanga ICT Council congratulated Baler for thier agressiveness in creating digital jobs. Lim was joined by Joeven Tansi of Iloilo Federation for Information Technology (IFIT), Danah Fortunato of Dumaguete Negros Oriental ICT Council and Teresita Leabres of Cavite ICT Council who served as resource speakers in the afternoon workshop.

Co-founder and former president of NICP Jocelle Batapa-Sigue and currently consultant at the Office of Senator Sonny Angara

Co-founder and former president of NICP Jocelle Batapa-Sigue designed and facilitated the cluster workshops which yielded varioys reccomendations from stakeholders present.

Mayor Angara thanke all he participants and the team of Senator Angara for helping in the creation of the ICT council.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, we have experienced so many setbacks. A lot of people were greatly affected and a lot has changed since then. Now, we conduct meetings virtually which is part of the “new normal”, Mayor Angara said.

I believe that e-commerce is the future, we have to adapt with new innovations. And through the formation of Baler ICT Council, with the help of NICP, this will generate income, promote e-Governance which makes transactions faster, develop talent through training and workshops, and promote local communities as prime spots for IT businesses. This will open doors for everyone, he added.

Senator Angara whose family hails from Baler envisions the town to serve as a strong catalyst for digital jobs and opportunities to come to Aurora.

Ford Ranger: A mobility partner for work, play and everything in between

Driving a Ford Ranger Wildtrak for an trip to the Jewel City of Sugarlandia – Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.

They say a long drive, good music and good company when combined is a great therapy for a tired soul. Our family took a Ford Ranger Wildtrak for spin this week in Sipalay City, second southernmost town in Negros Occidental and about 178 kilometers from Bacolod City as part of the Ford Media Drive 2020.

Dubbed as the Jewel of the Sugarlandia, Sipalay boasts of its beautiful sunset, clean shorelines and pristine waters. The city is home to beautiful beaches, resorts, bays, diving spots, caves, bays, fishing villages, and vegetable farms. One will be amazed at just how many adventures you can experience in a small city like Sipalay. The experience was made complete with a very smooth drive of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.

One of the hottest global trends in the auto industry is the growing popularity of pickup trucks as lifestyle vehicles. In the U.S., several pickups are now the top-selling vehicles in the country’s luxury market.

Once the tool of choice for people whose business required heavy towing, payload and off-roading, pickup trucks like the Ford Ranger have evolved into modern lifestyle vehicles that offer the same comfort and technologies as cars, but with the versatility and toughness to function as a workhorse, business partner, family vehicle, and anything in-between. Work or play, the modern pickup truck is the ultimate expression of independence and local enterprise.

Ford Philippines launched the new model of the Ford Ranger in 2018 equipped with enhanced power, performance, and smart and safe features. In the same year, Ford also launched the first-ever Ranger Raptor, combining Ford Performance DNA with the Ranger’s renowned ‘Built Ford Tough’ character and capability to set a new benchmark in high-speed, off-road pickup capability.

Ford Ranger: Tough and Smart

The new Ranger offers a choice of three diesel powertrains to deliver greater versatility and meet consumer demands for a wider variety of requirements. These include the new generation 2.0L Bi-Turbo and 2.0L Turbo engines, and the Ranger’s proven 2.2L TDCi engine.

The new Ranger also boasts of advanced smart and safe features such as the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) feature which helps mitigate risks by detecting pedestrians and vehicles, alerting drivers with an audible and visual warning. The new Ranger is also equipped with Active Park Assist (APA) which helps the driver find parallel parking spaces and steers itself to a parking spot. All the driver needs to do is control the throttle and brake.

Also available on the new Ranger is the Adaptive Cruise Control feature, which senses traffic and adjusts speed automatically. Meanwhile, the Lane Departure Warning feature vibrates the steering wheel if the driver unintentionally moves out of his/her lane at certain speed.

Loading is easier than ever on the Ranger XLT and Wildtrak variants with the introduction of Tailgate Lift Assist. With a new internal mechanism, the Ranger’s tailgate is now lighter to lift, with a 70 percent reduction in initial force required to raise it for closing.

The Wildtrak variants also offer the Smart Keyless Entry and push-button start, as well as up to six airbags ensuring maximum convenience and safety. The new Ranger also offers the SYNC3 feature compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing drivers to make calls, select music, and use apps with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Ford Ranger Raptor: Power and Performance

The Ranger Raptor is equipped with a new 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine that delivers a maximum of 213PS of power and 500Nm of torque. The Ford-designed and Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission has been created with high-strength steel, aluminum alloys and composites to optimize durability and weight.

The Ranger Raptor features distinctive design cues inside and out that are functionally driven.

At the front, a stunning new grille takes styling cues from the F-150 Raptor with the iconic block

FORD lettering proudly positioned within the grille design.

Inside, the Ranger Raptor offers a tailored Ford Performance DNA interior design with a high level of craftsmanship, harmonious colors and durable materials suitable for both off-road driving and everyday use. The seats are specially designed for off-road high-speed performance support.

The Ranger Raptor’s chassis frame is a new unique frame that is specifically designed for the vehicle to travel at high speeds off road. The Ranger Raptor’s Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers are exclusively manufactured by FOX, designed to provide higher damping forces at full jounce and rebound to enable better off-road capabilities.

The Ranger Raptor’s Terrain Management System (TMS) includes the Baja mode, inspired by Mexico’s famous Baja Desert Rally, and enables ultra-responsive, high-speed off-road performance. In this mode, vehicle systems like Traction Control are pared back to allow spirited off-road driving without intervention from the vehicle’s on-board systems.

Ranger Raptor comes with a host of advanced Driver Assist Technologies (DATs) such as SYNC 3, a fully integrated, voice activation system that lets the driver use their favorite devices while their hands stay on the wheel and eyes on the road. Ford’s comprehensive Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system also helps in difficult cornering and braking situations.

New enhancements to the Ranger lineup

Earlier this year, Ford Philippines introduced a series of enhancements and upgrades to its entire Ranger lineup. Ranger XLS variants now come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability. A new Ranger XLS Sport 4×2 A/T variant is added to the Ranger XLS products available to customers. Ranger XLT variants also come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability.

Meanwhile, Ranger Wildtrak 4×2 variants now have a new wheel design and LED headlamps. The Wildtrak 4×4 also has a new wheel design, LED headlamps, camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection and high-mount USB feature to support various dashcam models. On the other hand, the Ranger Raptor now comes with a camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, high-mount USB, and LED headlamps.

Boosting pickup portfolio with FX4 and FX4 4×4

Ford also expanded its pickup truck portfolio in January this year with the addition of the Ranger FX4, and in September, the FX4 4×4 variant. Instantly recognizable is the Ranger FX4’s eye-catching design that distinguishes itself across the entire Ranger lineup. Unique 18-inch black alloy wheels, new mesh grille, extended steel sports bar, and ebony black accents on side mirror caps, door handles, front and rear bumpers and fender features give the Ranger FX4 a distinctive look and style.

On the inside, the Ranger FX4 retains its refined look with FX4-embossed leather seats, FX4-branded floor mats, and sporty dark environment highlighted by race red stitching accents on the soft top instrument panel, center console, gear shifter, and door trims.

Great deals for the Ford Ranger during Truck Month

Ford Philippines is extending its widely-anticipated Truck Month until the end of November, with cash discounts available to more Ford Ranger models.

New Truck Month deals available this month include a PHP90,000 cash discount for the Ranger 2.0L Bi-Turbo Wildtrak 4×4 AT as well as for the Ranger 2.2L XLT 4×2 AT and a PHP65,000 cash discount for the Ranger 2.2L XLT 4×2 MT.

The Ranger 2.0L Wildtrak 4×2 MT is still available this month with a PHP90,000 cash discount while the Ranger 2.0L Wildtrak 4×2 AT still comes with a cash discount of PHP70,000.

On the other hand, the Ranger 2.2L XLS 4×2 MT is still available with a cash discount of PHP89,000, effectively bringing its starting retail price to only PHP943,000. Customers can also avail of a financing offer of PHP88,000 all-in low downpayment.

Meanwhile, customers who are looking to purchase the Ranger Raptor are still entitled to the Ranger Raptor Premium Care Package inclusive of a free 5-Year Scheduled Service Plan, 5-Year Warranty (from 3 years), and 5-Year Roadside Assistance. The worry-free ownership package is valued at PHP100,000.

The Ford Ranger is available in Ford Negros located at Talisay City, Negros Occidental with telephone number (034) 441 0865. For more details about the Ford Ranger, visit Ford Negros or www.ford.com.ph/trucks/ranger/.

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About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 188,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

Filipino startup recognized in addressing SDG’s using space tech

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino startup is recognized globally in developing a dengue hotspot prediction system using satellite and climate data in the 2020 Group on Earth Observations Sustainable Development Goals (GEO SDG) Awards for the Sectoral category, For-Profit. The GEO SDG Awards recognize the productivity, ingenuity, proficiency, novelty, and exemplary communications of results and experiences in the use of Earth observations to support sustainable development.

CirroLytix Research Services was formed to create social impact through big data. Through the application of machine learning, data engineering, remote sensing, and social listening, the Philippines-based data analytics firm hopes to help governments, researchers, non-government organizations (NGO), and social enterprises achieve positive change.

The Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) is one of the CirroLytix’s flagship projects developed during the 2019 National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) International Space Apps Challenge. It combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detect mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue. Project AEDES process leverages normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), Fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR), and normalized difference water index (NDWI) readings from Landsat and Sentinel-2 to estimate still water areas on the ground, which is correlated with dengue case counts from national health centers.

The Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detect mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue

Dominic Vincent “Doc” Ligot, co-founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix, describes Project AEDES as an “early detection of panics from online searches, anticipating case counts from environment readings, but most importantly pinpointing hotspots from mosquito habitat detection.”

The Pinoy-made dengue mapper tool won the annual international hackathon of NASA globally in the best use of data, the solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application. Aside from winning last year, CirroLytix also developed an integrated public policy information portal measuring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic using Earth observation, in-country economic and human mobility data, and global infection case counts, thus winning again in the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge for the same category in the best use of data. Named G.I.D.E.O.N. (Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of COVID-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide), this dashboard for policy makers and economic planners shows the impact of COVID-19 on various countries and effects on the economy and environment.

With these achievements, Cirrolytix is recognized in their remarkable efforts to utilize Earth observation data to predict dengue fever cases in the Philippines in order to improve public health.

“I am glad that the GEO SDG Awards Panel has selected CirroLytix for an award, recognizing the importance of this work in developing an EO-integrated dengue case predictor mapping system,” according to Dr. Argyro Kavvada, lead for Sustainable Development Goals of the Earth Science Division, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and executive secretary of the international Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG).

“These awards really could stand as an inspiration to all of us about what can be done, and what needs to be done to ensure that Earth-observations contribute to make our world a better, and more sustainable place,” said Lawrence Friedl director of the Applied Sciences Program of the Earth Science Division, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and co-chair of EO4SDG.

2020 GEO SDG Awardees together with Dominic Vincent “Doc” Ligot, co-founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix

The Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” M. Aldaba heartfeltly congratulates CirroLytix. “It’s indeed a blessing amid this pandemic and economic crisis that we are currently faced with,” she said.

The award-winning startup continues to update the AEDES framework to include socio-economic risk mapping to turn it into a health and environmental policy tool. Aside from dengue, the company also supports COVID-19 modeling and response initiatives with the public health sector. CirroLytix’s current involvements include public health, human rights, fighting disinformation, education and food security.

The Space Apps lead organizer in the Philippines Michael Lance M. Domagas appeals support for these Filipino winners. “How many times should these Filipino innovators and achievers need to win before being recognized and appreciated by our own country? To be recognized by not just one, but five space agencies is something has not yet been achieved by Filipinos, how much more of a multitude of countries and nations supporting the sustainable development goals of the United Nations?” He added that “The dengue epidemic and the COVID-19 is a real threat to the Philippine society right now, endangering health, well-being, livelihood, and most especially businesses and the national economy. If we could only learn how to give value to science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM), the possibilities are endless. Our Filipino winners of Space Apps and GEO SDG Awards have taught us on how these space technologies greatly help in addressing epidemics and economic impact of COVID-19, its time to give them recognition and respect because they are Filipinos like us.” Winners shall be invited to visit NASA once travel is deemed safe, but unfortunately, travel, meals and incidental expenses, and accommodation expenses are not provided.

On the other hand, Cirrolytix encourages the use of data in addressing social problems and issues surrounding the Bangsamoro region. Together with the Asia Foundation and Data Ethics PH, the online Bangsamoro Data Challenge invites ages 15 years old and above to develop data-driven solutions in helping the region. Deadline for registration is on Saturday 11:59pm, November 21, 2020 at https://barmm.opendata.org.ph/

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a partnership of more than 100 national governments and in excess of 100 participating organizations that envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations.

About 2020 GEO SDG Awards
The 2020 Group on Earth Observations Sustainable Development Goals (GEO SDG) awards program, in its second year, is led by the international Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG) initiative and recognizes excellence in sustainable development practices, analysis and reporting through the use of Earth observations. The awards honour productivity, ingenuity, proficiency, novelty, and exemplary communications of results and experiences in the use of Earth observations for the Sustainable Development Goals.

About Group on Earth Observations
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a partnership of more than 100 national governments and in excess of 100 participating organizations that envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations.

About Space Apps
Now in its 9th year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) International Space Apps Challenge is an international hackathon for coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and others around the world, where teams engage with NASA’s free and open data to address real-world problems on Earth and in space. Space Apps 2019 included over 29,000 participants in 71 countries. In May 2020, the virtual-only Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge concluded with over 15,000 participants from 150 countries. Space Apps is a NASA-led initiative organized in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub, SecondMuse, and the NASA Open Innovation Applied Sciences Program.

About CirroLytix
CirroLytix Research Services is a social impact data analytics company. Their mission is to help governments, non-profits, researchers, international and local organizations succeed at addressing collective social problems around the world by harnessing the full power of their data. The ultimate contribution to society is in enabling social impact professionals and entities make positive data-driven change on the lives they seek to uplift.

Related Links:

Above material is a Press Release issued by Michael Lance M. Domagas (Lead organizer, NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge Manila, Philippines). For more details, email catch2t8@yahoo.com.ph

108 LGU Systems Vie for Digital Governance Awards 2020

There are 108 local government-led programs vying for this year’s Digital Governance Awards 2020 this November. I congratulate the current officers of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for striving to carry on with this merit system which is now in its 9th year.

In 2012, as president of the NICP, I led exploratory talks with then Undersecretary Austere Panadero of the DILG on how we can help ensure that local government units across the country leverage on the benefits of using information and communications technologies (ICT) for good governance. I remember we brainstormed casually inside a hotel room with other NICP officers while attending an ICT conference. Our choice was between two approaches – carrot or stick. USEC Austere, also an Ilonggo, believed along with then DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo would that the “carrot” approach would be more effective since NICP is a private organization. We believed that customers or clients of government, which are primarily its citizens should be the one gauging their respective performance and level of innovation. Hence, the Excellence in ICT for Good Governance or eGOV Awards was born that year.

Since 2012 up to the present, the call for excellence in governance using digital pltaforms and solutions continues. In 2017, the DICT took the cudgel of nurturing the merit system and everyone agree to rebrand it to Digital Cities Awards and eventually last year to the Digital Governance Awards (DGA). eGOV and now DGA is an annual search for best practices in local government units in utilizing ICT to effectively and efficiently deliver its public services directly to its constituents and to its business stakeholders.

The DGA shares the vision of establishing indices for local government units across the country in harnessing the potentials of ICT towards raising the bar in delivering public service. By drawing attention to the best practices in integrating ICT capabilities and solutions, the different sectors of society and government units are enabled in their roles as catalyst of change. It is hoped that with the DGA strategy, the country will see the proliferation of revolutionary ICT initiatives that will support clearer, wider and faster access to information in our local government.

The program has four primary objectives, namely, to highlight and encourage the effective and efficient utilization of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the delivery of services and performance of the duties and responsibilities by local government units (LGUs); to share and replicate innovative practices, and commend, collate and document LGUs in integrating ICT in their processes to serve as example and benchmarks to other LGUs; to improve the business development, social services and the general ecosystem of the LGUs and motivate the private and business sector to actively participate and/or invest in the growth of the LGUs and to promote citizen’s responsibility and participation as well as accountability, efficiency and transparency in governance responsibility and encourage innovation.

In 2012, we started with two categories, namely, Best in Customer Empowerment (G2C) Awards, which recognizes the effect of an LGU’s practices using ICT solutions in its dealings with the public. This includes ICT solutions towards providing improved, timely, and relevant delivery of public services directly to the constituent; Best in Business Empowerment (G2B) Award which recognizes the effect of an LGU’s practices in integrating ICT solutions, and the commitment of its administration, in the LGU’s responsiveness to the needs of business enterprises, thereby creating business opportunities.

After three years, we added P2G or Digital Payments to cite initiatives in using digital payment gateways in the LGU level and D2G or Data-Driven Governance to recognize efforts of LGUs to ensure data privacy in their systems. Another new category was the Best in Inter-Operability (G2G) Award which recognizes the effect of an LGU’s initiative to connect data and systems with other government offices, both national and local, for the convenience of their constituents and to improve its public service delivery. The Best in

For 2020, instead of P2G and D2G, two more new categories were added. Government Internal Operations (G2I) Award recognizes the efforts of an LGU in developing or improving its internal systems and adhering to various recognized standards, to be able to provide better service to its internal customers. The Best in Covid19 Pandemic Response (G2P) which is a special category recognizes the LGUs who were extremely adaptable to the unusual circumstances presented by the COVID19 pandemic in the timely delivery of their services with the use of ICT solutions. It rewards quick thinking, innovation, and resourcefulness.

Since 2012 there are four criteria, namely innovative management (demonstrates the degree to which the entry explored, applied and managed the elements and strategies that brought about the success of the entry); impact (demonstrates the major results (output, outcome, impact), their effects, and benefits to the recipients of the service such as the public, employees, or business); extent of ICT adoption (to include interoperability and data security); and replication potential and sustainability (demonstrates the model qualities of the practice with the possibility and applicability of replicating it in other localities and shows the level of sustainability or that the LGU can continue the project by addressing major disruptions).

Angara: Faster Growth of Digital Careers to Address Impact of COVID-19 to Employment

Over the course of the lockdown imposed in Luzon and other parts of the country, work from home has become the new normal for offices that continue to function.

For many businesses and even the government service, Senator Sonny Angara sees the work from home arrangements continuing even after the lockdown is lifted or at least until a vaccine is found for COVID-19.

In some cases, businesses have also made adjustments to their operations because of the losses they have incurred over the lockdown period and this includes downsizing.

“We are seeing the growth of the so-called gig economy in the country and with the extended period of the lockdown being implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be even more activities on this front as businesses have to adjust to the new normal,” Angara said.

“Workers affected by the lockdown will also be exploring new ways to make a living and with many businesses shutting down because they are unable to cope with their losses, people will start looking at alternative means of livelihood,” he added.

To prepare Filipinos for the skills needed for the gig economy and to promote and strengthen digital careers, Angara has filed Senate Bill 1469 or the National Digital Careers Act.

The gig economy refers to the practice of companies of hiring short-term, independent contractors or freelancers.

Jobs available to these freelancers usually fall under the umbrella of digital careers and in most instances the work is done outside of the office and payment is made based on output and fulfillment of deliverables.

There are also freelance jobs that have become staples in the Philippine setting such as those in Transportation Network Vehicle Service system, food delivery and courier services, and even home sharing.

In 2019, Forbes ranked the Philippines sixth among the fastest growing markets for freelancers, with a 35 percent income growth from the previous year.

Paypal, in its 2018 Global Freelancer Insights Report, analyzed 22 countries and noted that the Philippines has one of the highest number of freelancers per capita, at around two percent or roughly 1.5 to two million Filipinos.

“Freelancers are usually paid very well. They get to work at home, at their own pace, and without their micromanaging bosses looming over them. It’s the perfect set up for people who qualify for these jobs,” Angara said.

“On the part of the employers, hiring freelancers mean lower costs on their part and they get to tap a huge talent pool, all of which would make a positive impact on their bottom line,” he added.

The bill seeks to establish a legal framework for the gig economy that will map out strategies to promote and strengthen digital careers and institutionalize employment standards for digital career workers.

It also tasks the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to create, design and develop programs to ensure access to trainings, market and other forms of support or innovation strategies for digital careers.

“But first we have to ensure that the infrastructure is in place, specifically to provide reliable, high-speed internet access in all areas of the country. A lot of our activities under the new normal will rely on internet connectivity—be it education or commerce, so this must be among our national priorities now,” Angara said.

Under the bill, the DICT, together with the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Public Works and Highways and other relevant departments and agencies are tasked to ensure universal access to high-speed, quality and affordable internet by prioritizing and facilitating the development of connectivity infrastructures in the localities across the country.

The development of digital careers is one of the thrusts of Tatak Pinoy, an initiative of Angara that is meant to spur innovation, address supply chain issues, and develop the skills of Filipinos so that they will be prepared to face the demands of the constantly changing marketplace.

Some of the common lucrative digital jobs in the market today are the following:

a. Web development and designing
b. Online teaching and tutoring
c. Content creation (writing and copywriting and others)
d. Digital marketing (e-Commerce, sales and marketing)
e. Creative design, graphic designing, 3D modelling and CAD, game development, logo design and illustration, and audio and video production
f. Mobile app development
g. Search engine optimization
h. Virtual assistance (administrative support or assistance)
i. Branding and public relations, social media coordinator and community management
j. Web research, business intelligence and data analytics
k. Transcription and data entry jobs article and blog writing
l. Customer service and technical support
m. Human resource management and systems
n. Architecture services and other professional services through the Internet

FULL TEXT OF SENATE BILL NO. 1469

ANGARA PUSHES FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Senator Sonny Angara with ICT Stakeholders

The Philippines need to adopt a digital transformation as part of its major strategies to face the current crisis brought about by the pandemic.

Prompted by this urgent need, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara authored a bill for the creation of a national digital transformation policy to focus on the digital competence and skills of Filipinos, promotions digitally-enabled jobs, education and government service.

The bill seeks to create a digital competence framework for citizens to serve as a standard tool in improving the digital competence of citizens, guide in formulate of policies that support digital competence building, and plan education and training initiatives to improve the digital competence of various specific target groups.

It also aims to create an information and communications technology (ICT) competency framework for teachers to outline the competencies that teachers, educators and trainers need in order to integrate ICT into their professional practice. The framework shall be used to compare the teachers’ competencies in different regions, provinces, cities and municipalities, to analyze and develop educational programs and training courses of teacher professional development at national or regional level. It shall provide guidelines and a basic set of qualifications to develop courses for pre-service or in-service teachers, in order to enable teachers to integrate ICT in a pedagogically effective way.

Another provision of the bill is the creation of a national digital strategy to develop a national economy that is founded on knowledge and innovation, ensuring that every citizen shall have the opportunity to understand and learn ICT and develop skills and ability to apply the ICT in their work, vocation, business and life in society to achieve become part of national socio-economic development and growth.

The proposed bill envisions digital Inclusion to enable all citizens, irrespective of age, gender, physical ability, ethnicity, health conditions, or socio-economic status to access the opportunities of the internet. Citizens, businesses and public services must take full advantage of the transformational benefits of the digital revolution.  To achieve this, there shall be digital libraries and learning hubs to improve digital communication, increasing citizen’s digital footprint, promoting digital inclusion and transform these libraries as providers of digital access, training and support for local communities.

The bill also promotes digital entrepreneurship or the digitization of businesses according to their own specific digital needs, mainly focused on these four core digital activities, such as maintaining a web presence, selling online, using the cloud, and digitizing back-office functions such as payroll and human resource management, in order to become or remain competitive.

To ensure the highest standards of public service, the Civil Service Commission shall also identify and consolidate all the skills and competencies of public employees in the career service and recommend and cause the conduct of digital skills training under an annual digital skills mapping activity. All public employees shall be covered under a mandatory basis of certification under the digital competence framework for citizens to identify areas the need training and intervention.

The proposed bill also aims to establish national digital skills development strategy from primary up to post-graduate level, identifying work-related digital skills training programs for out-of-school youth, including for freelancers and part-time workers and training programs for adults requiring re-skilling and life skills in the digital economy for all citizens. The bill

To oversee the implementation of digital transformation, the bill will create a National Digital Transformation composed of relevant government agencies and at least ten representatives from the private sector that is involved in digital skills and talent development organizations, digital industries and jobs, or digital systems and products.

FULL TEXT OF SENATE BILL 1470

Visayas Teams Advance to NASA Space Apps Global Challenge

Internet connectivity for far-flung coastal areas, sound to energy for communities with no access to electricity and a mobile application that measures individual carbon footprints emerged as top ideas during the NASA International Space Apps Challenge in Iloilo last week.

The NASA International Space Apps Challenge bring together individuals interested in space science and exploration, creative, and want to solve problems. Over 29,000 people from 80 countries and in more than 200 cities around the world are participating in the 2019 International Space Apps Challenge.

Participants of the NASA Space Apps Challenge at the American Corner of the Central Philippine University in Iloilo

Space Apps global hackathon aims to build connections across borders, sectors, and cultures to bring about paradigm-shifting innovation. Space Apps introduces problem-solvers worldwide to NASA’s free and open data. NASA missions to Earth, our Sun and solar system, and out into the universe – all gather data in pursuit of new knowledge, to expand our understanding through new scientific discoveries, and to help us to improve life on Earth. By using NASA data to solve each year’s challenges, Space Apps teams learn about NASA’s data, and share in the creation and application of the knowledge that results.

Space Apps inspires collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, fosters interest in Earth and space science and exploration, and encourages the growth and diversity of the next generation of scientists, technologists, designers and engineers. Space Apps is managed by the Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. and organized in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub and SecondMuse.

Lawyer and ICT Advocate Jocelle Batapa-Sigue Receives Ceritificate of Appreciation from the US Embassy and American Spaces as Chief Judge for the NASA Space Apps Challenge

The Space Apps hackathon this year was set up in three locations – Manila, Davao City and Iloilo City on October 18-20 in collaboration with American Corners in Ateneo de Davao University and the Central Philippine University in Iloilo. There where nine teams which pitched to a panel of jurors from various disciplines. Lawyer, digital advocate and former local legislator Jocelle Batapa-Sigue served as chair of the board of judges.

Panel of Judges at the NASA Space Apps

Two teams, Techno PH and Voltage 5, were nominated to the global challenge and a third team, Chill Heat was cited another promising idea.

As an archipelago, sixty two percent of the population in the Philippines live in the coastal zone where Internet access is a challenge. Techno PN uses technology of software and hardware devices that aims to bring internet access to far-flung areas of the Philippines using the VHF spectrum. Inclusive growth will now become a reality even to coastal dwellers who will gain access to necessary services from government, education and private or business sectors.

Techno PH Team members Rotherford Marmibe, Nico Guarnes and Giovanni Gerard Araque

Team Techno PH’s out-of-the-box approach is to utilize the Very High Frequency (VHF) spectrum (i.e. 30 to 300 megahertz) because it has lesser usage at the moment. The lessening is attributed to the on-going migration of television broadcast from analog to digital (ISDB-T) in the Philippines. The team introduces WISH (Wonderful Internet Service is Here) – a technology that is intended for the coastal communities in dire need of data connectivity. Here is the link to their site: https://2019.spaceappschallenge.org/challenges/earths-oceans/internet-ocean/teams/techno-ph/project

Voltage 5 Team composed of Nico Andrei Serrato, Frelean Faith Engallado, Joecile Faith Monana, Raphael Francis Dequilla and Kirsten Dianne Delmo

Voltage 5 project is called Sound to Light or S-LIGHT: CONVERTING NOISE TO ELECTRICAL ENERGY aims to make use of noise as it is a byproduct of human activities that is not utilized as a form of energy. S-light can give ample and consistent supply of electricity to families in rural areas with inadequate access to this resource. Here is the link to their site: https://2019.spaceappschallenge.org/challenges/living-our-world/smash-your-sdgs/teams/voltage-5/project

Members of Voltage 5 receiving their ticket vouchers from Kurt Cabillon of Cebu Pacific

S-LIGHT was also awarded by Cebu Pacific as outstanding idea which won for the team roun-trip tickets to Hanoi, Vietnam and potential collaboration with Cebu Pacific for their technology.

The third team which ws cited as “People’s Choice” is Chill Heat and there project is “Chill Trip” – a mobile app designed to provide users, specifically those with private vehicles that has no pre-determined route, with the possible options that utilize the lowest carbon emission per individual. It helps users realize the amount of carbon emission that would be emitted during their transportation. The app is anchored with a map, presenting different route options, in consideration to real-time traffic situation, with computed carbon emission emission for each. In addition, this app enables you to record your data and provide statistics of your daily transport. Your data can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms to entice others to sign-up and join the movement. Chill Heat is composed of Shaira June Gadot, Florey Anne Palabrica, Menalyn Tanque, Jerian Dale Figueroa, and Riz Angele Mirabel Villanueva Panopio. Here is the link to their site: –https://2019.spaceappschallenge.org/challenges/living-our-world/warming-planet-cool-ideas/teams/chill-heat/project

Overall, the teams were judged based on these criteria:

  • Impact: How much impact (quality and quantity) can this project have? Does it solve a big problem or a little problem? Will it inspire or help many, or a few?
  • Creativity: How creative/innovative is the approach? Is the project novel and something that hasn’t been attempted before, or is it an incremental improvement on something that already exists?
  • Validity: Is the solution scientifically valid? Will it do what it sets out to do? Can it work in the real world?
  • Relevance: Is this project responsive to the challenge for which it was submitted? Is it a complete solution or does it have a long way to go? Is it technically feasible? How usable or user friendly is the solution?
  • Presentation:** How well did the team communicate their project? Were they effective in telling the story of the project: the challenge, the solution, and why is it important?
Winners of the Visayas Leg with organizers with Atty. Jocelle Batapa Sigue, Chief Judge, Mylyn Garcia, Program Coordinator, American Center Manila, American Spaces Philippines, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and Dr. Irving Domingo Rio, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Central Philippine University

All the nominees around the world can be found in this link: https://2019.spaceappschallenge.org/awards/global-nominees

Approximately, 30 projects shall be recognized by December as the “Global Finalists,” and are presented as candidates for one of six global awards. There are approximately five projects nominated for each global award, though NASA reserves the right to change the total number of finalists per category. The 2019 award categories are: Best Use of Data, Best Use of Hardware, Galactic Impact, Most Inspirational, Best Mission Concept and Best Use of Science.

The Global Finalist projects are evaluated by an entirely new panel of executive judges at NASA. These judges are leaders and executives at the agency with a variety of subject matter expertise. Each Global Finalist project is evaluated by each executive judge, and the top six projects are announced in January 2020.

The Space Apps universe produced 3,381 projects this year. They will be competing to be selected as global nominees. The award categories can be viewed here  https://2019.spaceappschallenge.org/awards/ 

SEARCH FOR 2019 PHILIPPINES OUTSTANDING WOMEN IS ON

The search for The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (TOWNS) award is now underway.

Presented by TOWNS Foundation, the award is given to outstanding Filipino women ages 21 to 50 years old who have contributed positively to strengthening national capability and shaping the nation’s future.

Since 1974, TOWNS has recognized 165 women from various walks of life who have served as catalysts for economic, social and cultural development, national security and national unity.

The award is given every three years during the last week of October and the search for these women is held nationwide for a period of one year.

TOWNS Foundation is a national organization of dynamic and effective women who by their common shared activities help transform the lives of the Filipinos.  All TOWNS awardees become members of TOWNS Foundation.

Incorporatedin 1995, the TOWNS Foundation was established to support and harness the talent and capabilities of women excelling in their own fields.

Any Filipino women are eligible to be nominated by a person or organization under specific criteria. She must be at least 21 years but not more than 50 years by October 31, 2019, a Filipino citizen, distinguished in her field of specialization or advocacy and committed to the promotion of the well-being and upliftment of the people and community she serves.

The nominee must possess a pioneering spirit and has achieved success despite challenges attendant to new endeavors and must be dignified, respectable, articulate and self-confident.

TOWNS Foundation Inc. conducts this triennial search for the purpose of identifying outstanding Filipino women who, in their various capacities have served the country well and to recognize those who are true role models for Filipino women and girls who aspire to dedicate themselves to nation-building.

For more information about the search, one may email townsfoundationinc@gmail.com. Deadline for nomination is on July 31, 2019.

List of TOWNS Awardees 

Creating Cities of Hope Through SITIO: Social Innovation Through Impact Outsourcing

sitio-logo-yellow.jpgDespite its vast natural, mineral and agricultural resources, Mindanao remains to be the poorest geographical cluster of the Philippines. Eleven of the twenty poorest provinces are in Mindanao. On top of the list is the Province of Lanao Del Sur.

Marawi is the capital and the largest city of the province of Lanao del Sur on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. It has a population of more than 200K.

Iligan City is a highly urbanized city in the Northern Mindanao region, . It is geographically within the province of Lanao del Norte but administered independently from the province.

It is one of the 10 largest cities in the Philippines in terms of land area and has a population of more than 300K.

Marawi City is approximately 39 kilometers away from Iligan City. Located in different provinces – the cities of Ilgan and Marawi, although belonging to different provinces, apparently different in its peace and order situation, share a lot of things in common. Education, trade commerce, transportation. Although Marawi is predominantly Muslim, Iligan has always been a melting pot of all different religions as a trade and commerce hub.

Iligan City has constantly strived to elevate itself as one of the destinations for jobs and investments, especially those created as a result of information and communications technology. While other cities in the Philippines has only connectivity and talent development issues to fix, Iligan has to assure investors of good peace and order. Today, despite all efforts, Iligan, and the whole Lanao Del Norte lag behind in terms availability of jobs.

When war broke out last May 2017 between government and rebel forces, the fate of two cities became more intertwined.

Evacuees from war-torn Marawi City now total to 9,252 families or 43,159 individuals evacuated from Marawi City, transforming many public facilities in the city into evacuation centers.

In the midst of poverty, hunger, the lack of economic opportunities, as well as religious and cultural conflicts, the impoverished youth of Mindanao are prone to “live by the gun”, prone to recruitment by rebel armed groups in exchange for meager subsistence. Low standards of living make the youth of Mindanao vulnerable to various kinds of indoctrination by global and local extremists groups. These extremist groups exploit the lack of food, health care, education and opportunity to make an honest living or availability of decent jobs.

Marawi and other Mindanao cities is the perfect setting for inclusive growth and a chance for young Filipinos to feel benefits of the Information Age by making information and communications technology (ICT) a tool for them to lift themselves from their own situation.

My proposed solution or alternative is called SITIO or Social Innovation Through Impact Outsourcing (SITIO). More of SITIO on this site – SITIO in YOUTUBE

Social Innovation and Impact Sourcing are two different global concepts – that can be combined to create a concrete solutions to generate jobs in Iligan that can positively affect Marawi.

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Social Innovation Through Impact Outsourcing (SITIO) is a holistic approach to unemployment in poverty-stricken armed conflict-ridden areas where there is lack of decent jobs and economic opportunities to make an honest living, but leveraging on the growth of new business models evolving around the use of information and communications technology.

Social Innovation is defined as the application of innovative, practical, sustainable, market-based approaches to benefit society in general, and low-income or underserved populations in particular. Social innovation means being more strategic, more ambitious and more collaborative in how access and opportunity can be provided for billions of low-income people to participate in the global economy. (World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation)

Impact Sourcing is defined as an inclusive employment practice through which companies in global supply chains intentionally hire and provide career development opportunities to people who otherwise have limited prospects for formal employment, to deliver business outcomes. Impact sourcing has been shown to provide many business benefits, including access to new sources of talent, higher levels of employee engagement, and lower attrition rates, while offering employees their first step onto a career ladder that leads to economic self-sufficiency through income growth, skills development, and professional advancement (Global Impact Sourcing Coalition)

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Social Innovation Through Impact Outourcing (SITIO) combines the concepts of Social Innovation and Impact Sourcing with former as the end and the latter as the means.

An Impact Sourcing Service Provider (ISSP) in a pilot facility shall provide services to a Partner Social Innovator Corporation (PSIC) for any of the following services:

  • Contact Center Services (voice-driven telemarketing, vernacular support, technical or help desk, sales)
  • Data Processing (encoding, data entry, data mining, data capture, document digitization and archiving, data validation/quality, and transcription)
  • Content Services (editing, copy-reading, digital marketing, translation, image clean-up, or production of articles, graphics, visual arts)
  • Data Analysis (basic online research, content, image or location tagging)
  • Finance and Accounting (collection support, billing)

The overall goal is to create a successful ISSP-PSIC partnership in the poorest provinces of Mindanao, to uplift the socio-economic conditions of these provinces and indirectly resolve poverty and peace and order problem in these areas.

The initial stage of the project is to set up a pilot ISSP in Iligan City found in Lanao del Norte which is the 11th poorest province in the Philippines. The concrete output shall be a facility that can hold 100 fully-equipped work stations of approximately 1.5 square meters per work station, an office, dedicated server room, training room and pantry. The process of fit-out shall be completed after three months from the turn-over of the facility. Recruitment and training of the first set of workers shall commence upon the start of the project to end simultaneously with the completion of the facility fit-out.

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  1. Infrastructure – center or building for operations, power, utility and connectivity
  2. Trained Management Team – a pilot ISSP team to manage the facility
  3. Human Resource – trained impact sourcing workers
  4. Government Support – fiscal and non-fiscal incentives from government for talent development, marketing, security and other concerns
  5. Industry Collaboration – string support from industry for purposes of developing and identifying potential PSIC
  6. Availability of Online Platforms – Online platform providers developed for SITIS

SITIO will need several actors to make the model successful:

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Since the model is highly replicable, the ultimate goal of the project is to disseminate the concept to the rest of Mindanao and other poorest provinces in the Philippines.

The participation also aims to secure initial financial investment for the requirements to start the pilot ISSP in Iligan City and also in order to gain project momentum and support.

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Pilot Program of SITIO

SITIO ILIGAN LAUNCHING

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Private and public stakeholders of Iligan City launched yesterday, June 27, the initiative to create more digital jobs and opportunities under a concrete business framework named as SITIO (Social Innovation Through Impact Outsourcing).

Heading the launch were acting Iligan mayor Jemar Vera Cruz, city councilors Jesse Ray Balanay and Belinda Lim, lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, the author of SITIO and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Mindanao Cluster 2 head Eva May Dela Rosa.

SITIO was principally developed by Batapa-Sigue, as part of her Future of Work project as a Philippine Eisenhower Fellow in 2017, and as a continuing commitment as one the outstanding women in nation service (TOWNS) for 2016 in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) and former president of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP).’

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SITIO ILIGAN encourages the city to promote social enterprise that applies business strategies and earning income or profits for external shareholders to bring about concrete social change such as job generation, talent development and innovation.

The components of SITIO are infrastructure, consisting of facility, center or building for administration and operations, PC, other equipment, power, utility and connectivity; a dedicated and well-structured social enterprise management board and marketing team, availability of human resource, preferably trained digital online workers or freelancers with an inventory of skills inventory and portfolio and an online platforms system for virtual work. In the case of SITIO Iligan, the website is wrupup.com.

To be successful, there must be a strong collaboration among stakeholders and with industry, government support, partnerships with academe and training institutions and commitment of the key implementers.

The concrete facility of SITIO is a hybrid facility that combines the characteristics of a homegrown BPO work stations, shared service facility or co-working spaces, talent development or training center and business resource center and innovation hub.

SITIO rides on the wave of the constantly growing practice of outsourcing or the hiring a party outside a company to perform services or create goods that are usually performed in-house by the company’s own employees and staff or are non-core aspects of the business.

Today, outsourcing, specifically business process outsourcing (BPO), knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), and information technology outsourcing (ITO) have gone beyond just for the purpose of cost arbitrage but also implemented by corporations for efficiency, productivity, or more focus on core tasks, flexibility, as well as opportunity to tap on new skills sets and competencies.

The war for talent has been a challenge for all companies today such that the evolution of process outsourcing has become a world-wide phenomenon from simple staff augmentation, to project-based outsourcing, out-tasking or professional contracting to managed services and offshoring.

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